News / Asia

Malaysian Customs Officials Seize 1,000 Elephant Tusks

Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.
x
Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.
Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur December 11, 2012.
Ron Corben
Malaysian authorities have recovered more than 1,000 elephant tusks in the country’s largest ivory seizure. The seizure comes amid growing reports of the increasing slaughter of African elephants to feed global demand for ivory.
 
Malaysian customs officials at Port Kelang near Kuala Lumpur uncovered the elephant tusks inside shipping container compartments destined for China, after beginning their journey in the West African port of Togo.   
 
Freeland Foundation Against Wildlife Trafficking Director Steve Galster says the seizure is “extremely significant”, because smugglers look for alternative routes onto the international market, which is largely headed to China.
 
“The fact that that was seized in Malaysia shows that traffickers are always changing things so they do not get caught.  And, it demonstrates that Malaysia is also entering the game of wildlife law enforcement - they are a member of the Association of Southeast [Asian] Wildlife Enforcement [Network]," he said.  "They have had some seizures before, so this demonstrates that traffickers are taking a chance about using Malaysia as a transit country too." 
 
The Thai-led ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network has seen stepped up policing at ports and air terminals in a bid to curb wildlife trafficking.
 
Galster says the ivory trade has proceeded under agreements allowing for limited sales of ivory.  He says the seizure in Malaysia should be a “wake-up call” that such measures to limit the illegal trade are failing.
 
“It just shows - I hate to say it - that we need a complete ban again so that law enforcement agencies can catch up with the problem and start putting organized crime gangs behind bars and educating consumers about where ivory is coming from," he said. 
 
The ivory trade has been linked to African armed groups including the Lord’s Resistance Army, al-Shabab and Darfur’s Janjaweed.  Rampant poaching has been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
 
Earlier this year in Cameroon, wildlife personnel found 450 slaughtered elephants.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Garamba National Park more than 20 elephants were killed apparently by armed groups using military helicopters.  The tusks from the kill were said to be worth more than one million dollars.
 
A program manager with the World Wide Fund for Nature in Thailand, Petchr Manopawitr, says ivory trade is increasing.
 
“It is alarming that the wildlife smuggler and poacher are increasing ... the number, the real number from Africa for the past two to three years, the amount of elephant poaching is increasing dramatically.  The scale of the problem is accelerating," he said. 
 
Chinese authorities have been taking steps to curb the trade in talks with African nations and a media blitz to educate people in China on animal trafficking in general.
 
In Thailand, laws allow for limited trade in ivory, but policing is difficult and Thailand remains a hub for ivory carving.
 
International ivory trade is set to feature prominently during the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting next March in Thailand.

You May Like

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Burials

Country is improving at rapid response to remote, isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid